Crete is a famous holiday destination throughout the whole year – for lovers of the sun, families, couples and singles. The island fascinates its visitors with beautiful beaches and its historical and legendary past. Everywhere you go, you’ll experience the warm hospitality and welcoming of the Greeks.
Most of the visitors don’t expect Crete to have such amazing secrets until they explore Greece’s biggest island themselves. If you’re planning to travel to this beautiful island, keep our tips in mind – and you’ll never want to travel somewhere else…
1. Balos Beach and Lagoon
Balos Beach is one of the most famous beaches on the island of Crete. Thanks to its turquoise water, the crystal-clear view to the ground, the white and pink sand (due to millions of crushed shells) as well as the amazing and exotic scenery Balos attracts many tourists and photographers to visit this unique place. Visit this small paradise by boat from Kissamos port or by trekking from Kaliviani. Being an early bird will reward you with a few hours of breathtaking remoteness. With a bit of luck, you may spot some sea turtles or monk seals while snorkeling or scuba diving through the warm Aegean Sea.
2. Matala Hippie Caves
Natural caves to live in – that sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Years ago, in the 1960s, Hippies used the caves carved into the sand rock cliff of Matala as nomadic homes. Today, the old fishing village with its beautiful beach and azure waters doesn’t host hippies anymore. But you can still feel the spirit of the bohemian past: The caves are open to visitors and you will be able to climb through the rocks surrounding them. If you are looking for a true hippy adventure, visit this unique place during the annual international Matala Beach Festival.
3. The Palace of Knossos
The palace of Knossos can be found on Kephala hill, 5 km south of Iraklio, the capital of the island of Crete. With its 20,000sqm Knossos is the largest and most important Minoan monument. It was the residence of the wise King Minos. The ancient Greek mythology says that the palace was built with great complexity and no one who was inside it could ever find his way out. Before the palace was destroyed, it included workrooms, food processing centres, a central storage point and a religious and administrative center. Nowadays, visitors can explore the impressive ruins within an organised tour to get an idea of how the ancient Crete must have looked like.
Rethymno is the third largest city of Crete. With its pier that is 390m long and its Egyptian lighthouse Rethymno has one of the most impressive sceneries. The old Venetian buildings and the beautiful quayside with lots of fish taverns next to one another reflect the picturesque atmosphere. Visit the old Fortezza of Rethymno and enjoy the breathtaking view across the city and sea. Strolling through the old alleys and visiting the ancient churches will take you back in time.
Chania, the second largest city of Crete, impresses its visitors with the beautiful harbour as well as the exhaustive shopping opportunities. There is a huge market (“Agora”) in the city centre, and in addition to that there are waiting several street markets to be explored. In Chania you will be able to find some exquisite jewellery, too.
The island of Spinalonga is located at the North-Eastern coat of Crete. You can reach it via boat from Plaka, a small town near Elounda. Until 1957 it served as a leper colony. Today, the ruins can be explored during a stroll around the island.
7. Agios Nikolaos
Agios Nikolaos is a picturesque and lively city at the North-Eastern Coast of Crete. Take a walk around the old harbour and enjoy the magic view around you while dining in one of the typical small Greek restaurants. There is a lake located directly in the city centre – enjoy a panoramic view from the park above it.
The island of Chrissy is located south of Crete and you can reach it via boat from Ierapetra. You should plan one day to enjoy Chrissy at its best. Long, sandy beaches will remind you of the Caribbean. Chrissy is a magical place you should not miss to visit when visiting Crete for holidays.
9. The Cave Of Zeus
“The birthplace of Zeus” – That’s what many Greek people associate with the so-called Cave of Zeus (Dikteon Cave). The sacred place of cult worship is found on the hillside of Mount Dicte. The cave consists of five chambers where visitors will be able to detect impressive stalactites and stalagmites as well as a small lake and a hall with small stone basins filled with water. The chamber at the back of the small lake is rumoured to be the birth place of Zeus. During your visit, deep in the mountainside, you might still feel the soul of Zeus bustling around…
article by www.dreamlines.de
photo of Chryssi copyright by @photographerxyz